SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JANUARY 2013 PART 3

Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan is an internal martial art

Question 1

I am very interested to have good health and longevity into my old age and I have been hearing about Tai Chi and Qigong.

— David, USA

Answer

Tai Chi Chuan, often shortened to Tai Chi, and qigong, also spelt as chi kung, are excellent for good health at any age. It Is a mis-conception that Tai Chi Chuan is only for old people. Young people, irrespective of their gender, can benefit much from Tai Chi Chuan too.

Besides giving us good health, practicing Tai Chi Chuan and qigong also give us vitality and longevity as well as mental freshness and spiritual joys.

Good health is more than just being free from pain and illness. Yet, some people may have good health but they may not have vitality. They may not, for example, have the energy and zest to enjoy hobbies and travels. On the other hand, those who have vitality may not have good health. Sportsmen and martial artists are notorious examples.

Good health and vitality should, but may not bring about longevity. On the other hand, it is sad to see old people sick and weak.

If you practice Tai Chi Chuan and qigong, you should have good health. Why? It is because of energy flow. When your energy flow is smooth, you will have good health. When your energy flow is vibrant, you will have vitality. When your energy flow results in a lot of energy stored in your dan tian to enable the flow to go on for a long time, you will have longevity. Both Tai Chi Chuan and qigong generate energy flow.

Actually Tai Chi Chuan is a form of qigong, with the addition that you can apply Tai Chi Chuan patterns for self defence. Many other types of qigong do not have this combat dimension.

Unfortunately, most practitioners of Tai Chi Chuan and qigong today do not have these benefits of good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys, and in the case of most Tai Chi Chuan practitioners they have no self-defemce.

Why? It is because they do not generate any energy flow in their practice. In other words, they do not practice genuine Tai Chi Chuan or genuine qigong. Their forms are genuine, and they may have learnt from teachers with established lineage, but they have missed the essence of their arts.

Question 2

From what I can understand Tai Chi focuses on the external of the body and has a low level of qigong and Qigong totally focuses on the internal body and has a higher level of qigong and better health.

Answer

This concept is not correct.

Qigong is an art of energy. Tai Chi Chuan is an internal, martial art. Tai Chi Chuan makes use of qi or energy for its martial as well as health and spiritual cultivation. Therefore, Tai Chi Chuna is a form of qigong.

However, most Tai Chi Chuan practitioners today have missed this energy aspect. They also have missed the martial and spiritual aspects. They only practice external Tai Chi Chuan forms. They usually call their art Tai Chi.

This type of Tai Chi, which is the most common today and which is different from genuine Tai Chi Chuna practiced as an internal martial art in the past, focuses only on the external aspects of the body, and has no aspects of qigong. Nevertheless, those who have practiced this dance-like Tai Chi for a long time may have spontaneously generated some low level of energy flow.

Hence, if we refer to the situation of Tai Chi practitioners today, you are right in saying that Tai Chi focuses on the external body and has a low level of qigong. But if we refer to what genuine Tai Chi Chuan should be, your statement is incorrect. Tai Chi Chuan is qigong, and the level of qigong in Tai Chi Chuan is normally higher than that in many other forms of qigong.

There are many forms of qigong, ranging from the basic to the most advanced. All types of qigong focus on the internal aspects of the body and are meant to give good health. They also focus on the external aspects as well as the mind. This is expressed as the cultivation of jing, qi and shen. Jing refers to the physical or external aspects, qi to energy or internal aspects, and shen refers to mind which is also called spirit, soul or consciousness in some cultures.

Please note that triple cultivation is present in all types of qigong, including low-level qigong. The difference between low-level qigong and high-level qigong is that low-level qigong takes a long time to derive a little benefits, whereas high-level qigong drives a lot of benefits in a short time.

Most qigong practitioners today do not cultivate their energy and mind; they only cultivate the external body. Actually this is not qigong, not even low-level qigong. It is gentle physical exercise using qigong forms.

The forms are the same. If you use the qigong forms to cultivate only the external body, you are practicing gentle physical exercise. If you use the same forms to cultivate the external body, energy as well as mind, it is genuine qigong.

It is the same as in Tai Chi Chuan. If you use Tai Chi Chuan forms to cultivate only the external body, you are only practicing a dance. If you use the same forms to cultivate the external body, energy and mind, you are practicing qigong or an internal art. If you practice triple cultivation and also use the forms for combat, you are practicing genuine Tai Chi Chuan as an internal martial art.

Most qigong and Tai Chi Chuan practitioners today only cultivate the external body, without cultivation energy and mind, though they may not realize it and call their art qigong or Tai Chi.

In the de-facto situation today, i.e. the situation as it actually is and not the situation it should be, amongst people who practice Tai Chi and qigong as external exercise, which means the great majority of them over years some of them may have cultivated energy and mind without their own knowing. If all other factors were equal, it is easier to achieve this in qigong than in Tai Chi because generally there are less movements in qigong to distract the practitioners.

In the de-facto situation today, many Tai Chi practitioners develop knee injuries as a result of their training. This should not be the case, but it is. Such injurious training is less amongst those who practice qigong as an external exercise.

Hence, in the de-factor situation today, the observation that Tai Chi practitioners focus on the external of the body and have a low level of qigong, and qigong practitioners focus on the internal and have a higher level of qigong, is correct.

But the statement that Tai Chi focuses on the external and has a lower level of qigong, and qigong focuses on the internal and has a higher level of qigong, is wrong.

This confusing, or interesting, situation happens because most Tai Chi and qigong practitioners today do not practice genuine Tai Chi Chuan and genuine qigong; they only practice external Tai Chi forms and external qigong forms, and they are unaware of it.

Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan

Practicing genuine Tai Chi Chuan will fill your whole body with energy

Question 3

Someone has also said Tai Chi takes away chi from organs and puts it into the arms and legs.

Answer

This statement is wrong if we consider genuine Tai Chi Chuan. In genuine Tai Chi Chuan, practitioners increase both the volume as well as the flow of energy all over their body, including their organs, arms and legs.

The statement may be true if we consider practitioners practicing Tai Chi as an external dance. Most Tai Chi practitioners today practice Tai Chi as an external dance.

Some of them, but not all, in their practice may unknowingly take away energy from their organs and put it into their arms and legs. This is because in their practice they need energy to move their arms and legs, and if they do not have sufficient energy and do not know how to regulate their energy flow, energy will spontaneously flow from their internal organs to their arms and legs.

This is the case when people, especially if they are untrained, are engaged in vigorous exercise, like sports and gym work. The energy needed for their vigorous sports comes from their internal organs and other parts of their body. That is why they are physically and mentally tired after the vigorous exercise.

It is an irony that many people think that they strengthen themselves by participating in vigorous sports. The reverse is ture. They weaken themselves.

Question 4

Can you tell me if my knowledge is wrong about Tai Chi and Qigong and what is the difference between Tai Chi and Qigong.

Answer

Your knowledge about genuine Tai Chi Chuan and genuine qigong is wrong. But your observation about people who practice Tai Chi and qigong as external exercise is right. This is the situation of most people today, including those who have practiced Tai Chi and qigong for many years.

qi flow, chi flow

It may be incredible but any Shaolin qigong pattern can generate an energy flow that can overcome any illness!

Question 5

How dose Shaolin Qigong differ from other Qigong?

Answer

In principle it is like asking how are BMW cars different from other cars, or how is the English language different from other languages.

There are many ways to answer your questions, depending on factors like perspectives and emphasis, but I shall answer it the way I see it honestly, though many people may not be happy with my honest answer.

Shaolin Qigong is the greatest; it is better than many other types of qigong by a big margin. That is why I practice Shaolin Qigong. If another type of qigong is better, I would practice it.

It has the widest range, whereas many types of qigong are limited to just one particular purpose or one particular form of exercise. Many types of qigong, for example, are limited to only one purpose, like overcoming illness, increasing internal force or cultivating the spirit. Shaolin Qigong has a whole range of purposes.

For the purpose of overcoming illness, at one range there is a set of Shaolin exercises to improve eyesight, and at the other range there is Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows to overcome any illness! If you think that the exercise to improve eyesight must be simple, and the exercise to overcome any illness must be complex, you are in for a surprise. The set of Shaolin Eye Exercises consists of eight patterns, whereas any one pattern can be used to generate Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows!

Shaolin Qigong is also very versatile. If you are skilful, you can use just one exercise to overcome illness, to develop internal force and also to attain spiritual expansion into the Cosmos. You may also operate at any level of depth. Many other types of qigong are not able to do so.

You need to learn Shaolin Qigong from a master, or at least a competent instructor. Of course you need to learn any type of qigong from a competent teacher too if you do not want to miss its essence, but because of the profundity of Shaolin Qigong, this need is more urgent.

Question 6

Is the sequence, Z-shape Butterfly Palms, Eagle Claws Catch Dragon, and Angry Leopard Charges at Fire, from the Triple-Stretch Set a good method to develop internal force?

— Sifu Chris Didyk, USA

Answer

No, it isn't. It is a good combat technique, as well as a technique to manifest internal force when you already have internal force. But it is not a choice technique to develop internal force.

There are many effective techniques in Triple-Stretch to develop internal force. With the exception of "Lazy Man Waves Fan" and "Lazy Monkey Plucks Fruit", all the techniques in the two sets of "ta-chong" (training internal force on stance), are excellent.

The main aim of "ta chong" is to develop internal force. Then, why are "Lazy Man Waves Fan" and "Lazy Monkey Plucks Fruit" included in this section if they are not effective. The reason is that they are excellent for practicing how to manifest internal force. If one does not have internal force, the two patterns are not useful.

Triple Stretch

Angry Lepard Charges at Fire

Question 7

I am a student, and have done 2 intensive chi kung courses with Trini Parreo in Spain and 1 intensive chi kung course with Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit.

— Alex, Spain

Answer

Please note that in our school, students do not address their teachers by name. It is considered very rude to do so.

You should address your teacher as "Sifu". You should not even address your sifu as "Sifu Trini", as that will distant you from your sifu. "Sifu Trini" is the address other people who are not her students will call her.

When you are speaking or corresponding with someone else, like with me, you could address your teacher as "my sifu, Sifu Trini" so as to differentiate her from other sifus. You would then address me as "Sigung".

The chi kung course you took from your sifu was not an intensive course. It was a regular class. The course you took from me was also not an intensive course. It was a regional course. An intensive course is one held in Malaysia, and lasts for a few days. It is also of a much higher level than a regular class or a regional course.

Question 8

I suffer from premature ejaculation and I would like to know if you can help me by telling me the right exercises to do in order to overcome this problem which is troubleing me so much. I have learnt many different chi kung exercises, but I do not know the specific ones I should do to overcome this problem.

Answer

You need not worry unduly over your premature ejaculation problem. It can be rectified quite easily.

Just practice any one or more of the exercises you have learnt from your sifu or from me. The important point is not what exercise you practice, but whether your practice generates a chi flow. It is the chi flow, not the exercise, that overcomes your premature ejaculation problem, or any health problem.

Let us take an analogy. Suppose you want to buy a reference book but do not have enough money. So you take a part-time job. With the pay form your job, you can buy the reference book, or overcome some other economic problems.

It is the cash flow, not the job, that enables you to overcome your economic problem. It is the same with a health problem. It is the energy flow, not the exercise, that enables you to overcome your health problem.

But you need to do a job to have cash flow. Similarly you need to do a chi kung exercise to have chi flow. It doesn't matter what job you do, so long as it brings you some cash flow. Similarly, it doesn't matter what exercise you do, so long as it brings you some chi flow.

Even if you do a job well, but if you do not have any cash flow, you will not be able to overcome your economic problem. Similarly, even if you do your chi kung exercise well, but if you do not have any chi flow, you will not be able to overcome your health problem.

To have better result, follow the three golden rules of practice:

  1. Don't worry, like don't worry about which of the many exercises you should do, so long as you have a chi flow.
  2. Don't intellectualize, like intellectualize whether practicing Lifting the Sky or Carrying the Moon is better.
  3. Enjoy your practice. Of course, you have to practice to enjoy it. You must also be relaxed and not thinking of anything while practicing.

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